The weird and wonderful gadgetry of CES 2019

9th January 2019
Alex Lynn

As it does every year, the innovation technology show, CES, has brought to the floor a spate of weird and wonderful gadgets, many aiming to improve and enhance our daily lives, and others just for the sheer enjoyment they have the potential to bring. Here we take a look at some of our favourite gadgets poking their heads up this year.

The BotBoxer 
For years there has been chatter and speculation over what AI and robot will be able to take over in the future; but how about a boxing coach? The Bot Boxer from SkyTechSport is a robotic boxing coach which can adapt to the fighting style of whoever is sparring with it, until it is a challenge for even the best boxers to make contact. Priced at $20,000 the BotBoxer is designed for gyms and has a number of programs – Tutorial, Train, Drills, and Fight – as well as a difficulty scale to suit whoever is using it. 

Row of sensors on the bot analyse everything from your stance to your power to provide personalised feedback on how to improve your technique, as well as challenging you to adapt as the bot adapt to you. It floats like a butterfly, will you be able to sting it like a bee?

The Hyundai Elevate
Looking entirely like something pulled out of a Sci-Fi film, Hyundai unveiled its small model of the Elevate; a walking car. The company claims the car will be able to walk at a speed of three miles per hour as well as climb a wall up to five feet tall and jump a gap up to five feet wide. At first, the use of such a strange concept might not be readily apparent, but Hyundai have explained that they expect the car to be pivotal in increasing the ability first responders have to reach incidents – after an earthquake, tsunami or even just a climbing accident, wheels often won’t cut it. 

Hyundai Vice-President John Suh was quoted saying: "When a tsunami or earthquake hits, current rescue vehicles can only deliver first responders to the edge of the debris field. They have to go the rest of the way by foot. Elevate can drive to the scene and climb right over flood debris or crumbled concrete."

Standing for ‘quality of life with locomotion’, Japan's University of Tsukuba, created and unveiled the Qolo, a lightweight cross between an exoskeleton and a wheelchair. The Qolo is one of the finalists in the Toyota's Mobility Unlimited Challenge and gives the user the ability to travel around either in a seat or standing, able to switch between the two modes. 

The device is reportedly lightweight and gives the user the chance to travel around upright, instead of from a chair, thus freeing up the use of their arms and giving them the height that is lost from a seated position but so often needed to complete daily tasks.

GoSun Fusion solar cooker
Ever wanted to feed a family of five in the dark with a solar cooker? Well, regardless, now you can! The GoSun Fusion solar cooker uses parabolic reflectors to focus sunlight into a vacuum tube, which can reportedly convert almost 80% of the light into a heat up to 550 degrees. Apparently able to cook food only using the energy needed to power a lightbulb, it’s certainly more efficient and environmentally friendly than your traditional oven, though admittedly with less capacity. 

Rugged, portable and with no need for a plug or fuel, this cooker certainly seems able to take your glamping to the next level; say goodbye to disposable barbecues and cooking fuel!

Groove X Lovot
We’re fairly used to the idea of robots to make our lives easier in one way or another; but what about a robot that’s only goal is to make you happy? Coming fully equipped with big brown eyes – complete with dilating pupils – cute little arms that shift about and a soft furry cover, the Lovot functions primarily as a snuggle buddy. Trailing around behind you on its two wheels, the company explained that “it begs for attention and gets in the way of those it lives with, and at times will shy away from people it does not know. It is adorable just by being there.” The Lovot reportedly even reacts to being tickled.

The Lovot uses the camera on its head to keep tabs on people and their body language, and touch sensors located all around it provide it with the ability to respond to any cuddling it receives. Not solely focused on giving you the warm fuzzies, the Lovot’s camera can also function as a surveillance camera, giving it potential applications as a baby monitor and sleep tracker.

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